An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & Ministry Formation

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A 2005 Gold Medallion finalist!

Some introductions to the New Testament highlight the historical contexts in which the New Testament literature was written. This introduction gives particular attention to the social, cultural and rhetorical contexts of the New Testament authors and their writings.

Few introductions to the New Testament integrate instruction in exegetical and interpretive strategies with their customary considerations of authorship, dating, audience and message. This introduction capitalizes on the opportunities, introducing students to a relevant facet of interpretation with each portion of New Testament literature.

Rarely do introductions to the New Testament approach their task mindful of the needs of students preparing for ministry. This introduction is explicit in doing so, assuming as it does that the New Testament itself--in its parts and as a whole--is a pastoral response. Each chapter on the New Testament literature closes with a discussion of the implications for ministry formation.

These integrative features alone would distinguish this introduction from others. But in addition, its pages brim with maps, photos, points of interest and aids to learning. Separate chapters explore the historical and cultural environment of the New Testament era, the nature of the Gospels and the quest for the historical Jesus, and the life of Paul.

This introduction by David A. deSilva sets a new standard for its genre and is bound to appeal to many who believe that the New Testament should be introduced as if both scholarship and ministry mattered.

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Editorial Reviews

Craig S. Keener
"This excellent introduction meets a special need, especially for seminarians concerned about how their academic study of the New Testament relates to ministry. David deSilva is conversant with a wide range of scholarship for the entire New Testament canon, its historical setting, and both traditional and more current approaches to the text (including rhetorical, literary and social approaches). His concern for ministry application is a valuable and unique feature, and his extensive proficiency in the ancient sources, already demonstrated in his earlier works, makes him an especially trustworthy guide in this area."
Paul N. Anderson
"If the textbooks available are not adequate, write one that is! This is precisely what David deSilva has done in his new interdisciplinary introduction to the New Testament--to the benefit of his students, and likewise for all who aspire to apply New Testament content to the ministry needs of the world today. . . . This book is highly recommended, and Professor deSilva is to be thanked for welcoming the rest of us into his classroom!"
Mark Allan Powell
"David deSilva provides us with a reliable, thorough and eminently useful introduction to the New Testament that allows students to experience the spiritual and historical significance of these writings for communities of faith. . . . His writing is remarkably clear and interesting, covering material of such significance that many students will find here a textbook that they will want to keep, one to which they will return repeatedly long after the course is over."
Ralph P. Martin
"This compendious handbook to the New Testament writings will prove an invaluable resource in the classroom and study. The approach is lively and topical, with a special section devoted to the application of scholarship to ministry--a feature not often found in quality books like this. . . . In all, here is a volume that carves for itself a distinctive place in what is an overcrowded market, and will be welcomed by hard-pressed students and alert pastors alike. Well done!"
Ben Witherington III
"This introduction helpfully and without apology attends to both the intellectual and spiritual formation of the reader. . . . I am happy to commend this introduction to a whole range of readers--students, pastors and educated laypersons."
Peter H. Davids
"David deSilva has written the New Testament introduction that I have wanted to use (and wish I had written). It is not only readable and comprehensive, but it also incorporates the latest in scholarly approaches to the New Testament. In this work we really do discover the New Testament in its historical, rhetorical and social context. Furthermore, it reads the New Testament as a pastoral and practical work. What more could one ask for? What more could one offer to students? I am indeed excited about this work."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830827466
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 4/8/2004
  • Pages: 975
  • Sales rank: 227,268
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 2.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David A. deSilva (PhD, Emory University) is Trustees' Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio.

He is the author of over fifteen books including 4 Maccabees (Septuagint Commentary Series); An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & Ministry Formation; Introducing the Apocrypha: Context, Message and Significance; New Testament Themes; Perseverance in Gratitude: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Epistle "to the Hebrews"; Honor, Patronage, Kinship and Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture; and The Hope of Glory: Honor Discourse and New Testament Interpretation. He is also an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables
Preface: The Perspective of This Introduction
Using the "Exegetical Skill" Sections
1. The New Testament as Pastoral Response
2. The Environment of Early Christianity; Essential Landmarks
3. The Cultural and Social World of the Early Church: Purity, Honor, Patronage and Kinship
4. The Four Gospels and the One Jesus: Critical Issues in the Study of the Gospels
5. The Gospel According to Mark: Following the Way of the Cross
6. The Gospel According to Matthew: Following the Words of the Messiah
7. The Gospel According to Luke: Following the Heart of the Father
8. The Acts of the Apostles: Following the Leading of the Spirit
9. The Gospel According to John: Following the One from Above
10. The Epistles of John: Painful Breaches of the Bond of Unity and Love
11. A Prologue to the Study of Paul's Letters
12. The Letter to the Galatians: Walking in Line with the Spirit
13. The Thessalonian Correspondence: Living in the Light of the "Day"
14. The Corinthian Correspondence: Valuing Oneself and Others in the Lord
15. The Epistle to the Romans: The God of Jew and Gentile
16. The Epistle to the Philippians: Unity in the Face of Adversity
17. The Epistle to Philemon: The Slave is our Brother
18. The Epistles to the Colossians and Ephesians: Walking in the Light of Christ's Victory
19. The Letters to Timothy and Titus: Trustworthy Management of God's Household
20. The Epistle to the "Hebrews": Living in Trust and Gratitude Toward God
21. The Epistle of James: Promoting Consistency of Belief and Behavior
22. The First Letter of Peter: An Ethic for Resident Aliens Awaiting Their Inheritance
23. Jude and 2 Peter: The Dangers of Deviant Disciples
24. The Revelation of John: Living in the Light of God's Triumph
Author Index
Subject Index
Ancient Titles Index
Scripture Index
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